[Marxism] Case against Iran collapses at UN

Fred Feldman ffeldman at bellatlantic.net
Mon Aug 22 23:10:02 MDT 2005

General tone of article culminates in last two sentences:
"In the run-up to the Iraq invasion in March 2003, the White House
rejected IAEA findings that cast doubt on U.S. assertions about
then-Iraqi President Saddam Hussein's arsenal. The IAEA findings turned
out to be correct, and no weapons of mass destruction have been found in

The previous lack of cooperation with US frame-ups led to a major, but
unsuccessful, campaign to fire al-Baradei from his IAEA post.  We have
to assume that UN rep Bolton will have the job of trying to regain the
offensive against Iran -- and the appeasers at the UN.
Fred Feldman

No Proof Found of Iran Arms Program
Uranium Traced to Pakistani Equipment

By Dafna Linzer
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, August 23, 2005; A01

Traces of bomb-grade uranium found two years ago in Iran came from
contaminated Pakistani equipment and are not evidence of a clandestine
nuclear weapons program, a group of U.S. government experts and other
international scientists has determined.

"The biggest smoking gun that everyone was waving is now eliminated with
these conclusions," said a senior official who discussed the
still-confidential findings on the condition of anonymity.

Scientists from the United States, France, Japan, Britain and Russia met
in secret during the past nine months to pore over data collected by
inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency, according to
U.S. and foreign officials. Recently, the group, whose existence had not
been previously reported, definitively matched samples of the highly
enriched uranium -- a key ingredient for a nuclear weapon -- with
centrifuge equipment turned over by the government of Pakistan.

Iran has long contended that the uranium traces were the result of
contaminated equipment bought years ago from Pakistan. But the Bush
administration had pointed to the material as evidence that Iran was
making bomb-grade ingredients.

The conclusions will be shared with IAEA board members in a report due
out the first week in September, according to U.S. and European
officials who agreed to discuss details of the investigation on the
condition of anonymity. The report "will say the contamination issue is
resolved," a Western diplomat said.

U.S. officials have privately acknowledged for months that they were
losing confidence that the uranium traces would turn out to be evidence
of a nuclear weapons program. A recent U.S. intelligence estimate found
that Iran is further away from making bomb-grade uranium than was
previously thought, according to U.S. officials.

The IAEA findings come as European efforts to negotiate with Iran on the
future of its nuclear program have faltered and could complicate a
renewed push by the Bush administration to increase international
pressure on Tehran.

U.S. officials, eager to move the Iran issue to the U.N. Security
Council, which has the authority to impose sanctions, have begun a new
round of briefings for allies designed to convince them that Iran's real
intention is to use its energy program as a cover for bomb building. The
briefings will focus on the White House's belief that a country with as
much oil as Iran would not need an energy program on the scale it is
planning, according to two officials.

France, Britain and Germany have been trying for two years to convince
Iran that it could avoid Security Council action if it gives up
sensitive aspects of its nuclear energy program that could be diverted
for weapons work. Iran has said it has no intention of making nuclear
weapons and will not give up its right to nuclear energy. Iran has
offered to put the entire program under IAEA monitoring as a way of
alleviating international concerns. But European and U.S. officials have
rejected that offer because it would still allow Iran access to
bomb-making capabilities.

Iran built its nuclear program in secret over 18 years with the help of
Abdul Qadeer Khan, a top Pakistani official and nuclear scientist who
sold spare parts from his country's own weapons program to Iran, Libya
and North Korea. Khan's black-market dealings were uncovered in 2003. He
confessed on national television, was swiftly pardoned by Pakistan's
president, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, and is now under house arrest.

Pakistan has denied IAEA inspectors access to Khan and to the country's
nuclear facilities, but earlier this year it agreed to share data and
some equipment with the inspectors to expedite the Iran investigation.
Among the equipment were discarded centrifuge parts that match those
Khan sold to Iran.

John R. Bolton, now U.S. ambassador to the United Nations who had served
as the administration's point man on nuclear issues, suggested during
congressional testimony in June 2004 that the Iranians were lying about
the contamination.

"Another unmistakable indicator of Iran's intentions is the pattern of
repeatedly lying to and providing false and incomplete reports to the
IAEA," Bolton said. "For example, Iran first denied it had enriched any
uranium. Then it said it had not enriched uranium more than 1.2 percent.
Later, when evidence of uranium enriched to 36 percent was found, it
attributed this to contamination from imported centrifuge parts."

The IAEA, in its third year of an investigation in Iran, has not found
proof of a weapons program. But a few serious questions, some connected
to Iran's involvement with Khan, remain unanswered. While the
investigation has been underway, Iran and the three European countries
have been trying to reach a diplomatic accommodation. Their negotiations
fell apart earlier this month and Iran resumed some nuclear work it had
put on hold during the talks.

In the meantime, European officials convened an IAEA board meeting two
weeks ago to discuss Iran's actions and sought a new report for this
week on the country's program. But the report was pushed back to Sept. 3
so that the group of scientists, including officials from the Energy
Department, could meet one last time to draft an account of their
findings, according to U.S. and European officials.

The IAEA had put together the experts group in an effort to foster
cooperation but also to eliminate the possibility that its findings
would be challenged by the White House, officials said. In the run-up to
the Iraq invasion in March 2003, the White House rejected IAEA findings
that cast doubt on U.S. assertions about then-Iraqi President Saddam
Hussein's arsenal. The IAEA findings turned out to be correct, and no
weapons of mass destruction have been found in Iraq.

Researcher Julie Tate contributed to this report.

C 2005 The Washington Post Company

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